PG Athletes of the Week: Montae Nicholson, Marla Small
April 26, 2013 8:00 AM
Gateway's Montae Nicholson clips the last hurdle on his way to winning the 110 meter hurdles at the Tri-State Track Coaches Association Outdoor Track Championship.
West Mifflin softball star Marla Small, one of the Post-Gazette's athletes of the week.
By Mike White and Brad Everett / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Last week: Nicholson won the 110-meter hurdles championship at the Tri-State Coaches Association championships.
Check this out: Nicholson is one of the most heavily recruited junior football players in the WPIAL. A defensive back, he has scholarship offers from Pitt, Penn State, Ohio State, Florida State, Michigan and Oregon, among others. But he also is adept at track and field. His 100 hurdles time of 14.83 seconds is the best in WPIAL Class AAA this spring. He also is tied for the second-best high jump (6 feet, 2 inches) and the seventh-best long jump (21-101/2). Nicholson's mother, Jackie Crawford is a former star hurdler at West Mifflin and Sacred Heart high schools, and she is in the Robert Morris Athletic Hall of Fame.
• What made you try hurdling? I actually have been running track since fifth grade. I always figured I was a fast kid, so I ran just the 100 and 200. Then my mom asked me one day, 'Why don't you try the hurdles?' I did it and I was pretty good at it and I've been doing it ever since.
• What's it take to be a good hurdler? Honestly, you have to love doing it. It has to be fun. The same thing with football or any sport.
• No, what's it take physically? For me, I think the strength I get from lifting for football helps.
• Will you go to any Pirate games this year? Ahhh, my girlfriend wants me to, so I probably will.
• Who is going to win the NBA championship? Without a doubt, the Heat. I'm a big LeBron fan.
• Can you name any Penguins except Crosby or Malkin? Ahhh, I remember that No. 58. That's that Letang.
• People might be surprised to know ... I enjoy golfing. I don't like to watch it, but I like playing it.
Last week: Small went 3 for 5 with a three-run home run and five RBIs Friday to lead the West Mifflin softball team to a 12-11 win against previously undefeated McKeesport.
Check this out: Small, a senior shortstop, has played a big role in West Mifflin (12-2) gaining its first playoff berth since 1998. She is hitting .511 with 3 home runs, 25 RBIs and 13 runs. A four-year starter, Small was an all-section honoree as a junior.
• Did you expect the team would have this type of season? I had faith and was really excited about the season. Over the past few years, we weren't so good, but we had a lot of players back and I thought this could be a breakthrough season.
• Do you hit better in home or away games? I really don't think home or away games affect me. I just try to do the same thing every time I come to the plate.
• When was the last time you pitched? I would say probably seventh grade. I figured out then that it wasn't the right position for me.
• Teammate with the best nickname? Sydney Zalice. We call here Psycho Sid. When she gets a little angry that side of her comes out.
• Kennywood is just an infield pop-up from your school. How many times will you go there this summer? Probably just once. Living around here, going to Kennywood gets played out.
• Best pizza? Fiori's or Luciano's.
• What do you do more often: text or tweet? Text. I'm always texting people ... except in school.
• Perfect place to go on a first date? A Pirates game.